Natural Tips for S.A.D. Times in Iowa

Good morning all! Or is it the middle of the day, evening or middle of the night? I can't tell with all of this dark weather. I have been feeling increasingly tired at the end of the day, or 5pm I mean. Iowa is a state where, for example today, sunrise is at 6:47am and sunset is at 4:53pm. Even now at almost 8am it looks to be dark and gray. For some this brings on a s.a.d. feeling. 

Seasonal affective disorder, or winter depression or even for some it can be summer depression, is a person that maybe sleeping more, having little energy, change in appetite and possible depression as the seasons change. When November, even October, comes around the Facebook feeds begin to show folks to have earlier and earlier bedtimes. I might read that someone‚Äôs kids are falling asleep earlier or that it is getting increasingly more difficult to pry yourself from your warm cozy bed in the morning. The body craves light, vibrancy and energy....winter just puts everything to sleep. It is no wonder that some of us are more influenced than others. In the summer Rob and I are outside much more than some of our friends, and then there are others that are outside twice as much as us! To have the seasons change so drastically as they do here in Iowa it's key to find some at home and on the road tips to stay bright in these winter months. 

Do you notice a shift in your energy during the winter months? For some this may mean you just enjoy a warm bed. For others it might be just a bit of s.a.d. If you are feeling that it is an excessive drag on your mood, outlook or life try some quick pick me ups! 

First and foremost, assess your level of change. Is it a slow progressive feeling to sleep in or go to bed early? Has something happened to make you feel this way or is it truly seasonal? Ensure that this is a mild case of SAD, if it is more severe contact a talk therapist or someone to get to the root of the change. If someone truly needs to see a care provider then by all means go to a talk therapist, life coach, social worker, and psychologist. If it seems like you are just a little more blue than normal and out of dangers way then try out these tips and get your days back! 

1 - Do you see sun outside and it is your break time? Go for a walk! Or sit next to the window and look outside or read a book. Soaking in some healthy vitamin D can help do the trick. Don't have a window near you or time to go outside? Try bumping up some foods with vitamin D or using a supplement for the winter months. Cod liver oil, fish, tofu, soy milk, eggs and mushrooms are great additions to the winter diet as well.  

2 - Stick to your routine. This is a nice tip for even those going through a hard time or  SAD. When dad passed I stuck to my routine and things still got done on the work front and I didn't have the added stress of work falling apart. Pushing through it and just putting one foot in front of the other is a great goal to pursue. Think about when you have to do something to survive, like blink, breathe, or swallow. Now use that same theory for sticking to your routine. Alarm goes off, get up immediately, get ready for the day and make yourself look and feel fabulous, because you are fabulous!!! Go take on the day and continue on your routine until your regular bedtime. When a feeling of fatigue or drowsy winter day comes into your mind just banish it and remember those long summer days. They are only a few months away!  

3 - Keep your home bright and clean. In the winter we track snow, mud and all kinds of debris into our homes. By keeping your space tidy and fresh you make your home more livable and less likely to drag you down. Just like with the clutter blog I wrote the other day, make your space open and relaxing.  

4 - Exercise and proper diet, as in lifestyle, will play a large role in your energy no matter what the season or weather. I know in previous years I may have felt tired even during the summer due to improper diet. Winter is even more crucial due to SAD. Freshen up salads with almonds, fresh veggies and eggs. Can't get to the gym? Run stairs or do lunges at home. Get your blood pumping and you will feel increased stimuli and be more apt to make it through your day.  

5 - Have FUN! There is a lot to do in a day. We all have the same 24 hours. What you get done and what you get out of your day depends on you! Yes it gets dark very early here in Iowa in the winter, however those hours still exist and they can be used for your betterment! Watch a funny movie! Call a friend! Make sure you are focusing on what you want to do in life and not that it is so dark outside. Your words become roots in your mind. If you say it is dark and better believe your day will be dark and gloomy. Fight for the chance to enjoy your days and don't let the weather or sun predict your winter months. Be bright!  





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